Vega is readied for its third Arianespace mission, carrying a pioneering Earth observation spacecraft
Arianespace’s Vega mission with DZZ-HR, Kazakhstan’s first Earth observation satellite, is entering the final preparation phase for a nighttime liftoff next week from the Spaceport in French Guiana.
This will be the light-lift Vega’s third flight, once again demonstrating its capability to accommodate a full range of payloads as the smallest member in Arianespace’s launcher family – operating along with the medium-lift Soyuz and heavyweight Ariane 5 at the Spaceport.
The mission is set for April 28, at an exact liftoff time of 10:35:15 p.m. from Vega’s SLV launch complex. It will deploy DZZ-HR into a Sun-synchronous orbit, inclined 98.5 deg. at the conclusion of a flight lasting 55 minutes, 29 seconds.
DZZ-HR has an estimated liftoff mass of 830 kg. and was built by Airbus Defence and Space for the Republic of Kazakhstan to perform civilian applications ranging from the monitoring of natural and agricultural resources to the provision of mapping data and support for rescue operations during natural disasters.
With a nominal design service lifetime of 7.25 years, the high-resolution spacecraft will be renamed KazEOSat-1 once reaching its assigned orbit.
During Vega’s initial ascent from the Spaceport, DZZ-HR will be protected by a 7.90-meter-long payload fairing (shown in the cut-away drawing at right), which is to be jettisoned 3 min., 54 sec. after liftoff. The flight will be powered by Vega’s solid propellant P80 first stage, Zefiro 23 second stage and Zefiro 9 third stage. The AVUM (Attitude & Vernier Upper Module) upper stage has a bipropellant propulsion system for orbital injection, with its monopropellant propulsion system providing roll and attitude control.
Vega was developed to launch small satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO) and Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO), serving as a capable vehicle to meet existing and emerging market requirements.
Development of Vega was handled in the framework of a European Space Agency (ESA) program financed by Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden. The launcher design authority and prime contractor is Italy’s ELV – a joint venture company of Avio and the Italian space agency – while Arianespace is responsible for handling the launch operations.
The upcoming Vega mission is designated Flight VV03 in Arianespace’s numbering system. Vega’s first launch (Flight VV01) was a qualification mission performed in February 2012, carrying the LARES laser relativity satellite, a small ALMASat-1 technology microsatellite demonstrator, and seven CubeSats. This was followed by Flight VV02 in May 2013, which orbited the Proba-V, VNREDSat-1 and ESTCube-1 spacecraft.